Physician Dr Timothy Legg has theorised how stress can lead to higher cholesterol. Dr Legg says that stress can “indirectly” lead to higher cholesterol through multiple means. Previous studies have linked stress to poor dietary habits resulting in an unhealthy diet, leading to greater body weight which in turn increases the risk of high cholesterol. There is more to stress’ impact on cholesterol than this however, as there is another, slightly more complex theory. When the body is stressed, or experiences a “stress response”, it releases a hormone in response called cortisol, this hormone helps to replenish the body’s energy stores when we’re stressed.

Combined with adrenaline, another hormone released during a stress response, the theory goes that these trigger a “fight or flight” response.

This response to stress triggers the release of triglycerides, a type of blood fat our body uses for energy.

However, if our triglycerides levels are too high, this can boost bad cholesterol. Thus, through this process, stress can indirectly cause high cholesterol.

So how do we cope with as well as reduce stress, and in turn, reduce our chances of developing high cholesterol?

Fortunately, there are multiple ways to reduce and cope with stress and therefore reduce your chances of developing high cholesterol.

ALSO READ: Dr Mosley shares a simple trick that ‘can help treat type 2 diabetes’

One of the best ways is exercise; even moderate exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling releases endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine that help you to relax.

Not only this, but exercising is also a way to get away and zone out from any home or work-based worries.

As well as exercising regularly, improving and having a healthy diet will also reduce your stress.

Foods that reduce inflammation in your body will help to reduce your levels of cortisol (the main stress chemical).

Examples of food that will help to reduce this inflammation includes bananas, broccoli, spinach, avocados and dark chocolate.

Foods containing vitamin C and B6 also contribute to a reduction in stress.

However, maybe the most important thing you can do to reduce stress, is to talk about it with someone, to seek help.

Author Katie M. John famously wrote that a problem shared is a problem halved.

Since our levels of stress can be linked to our mental health, the better our mental health, the lower our stress levels could be.

Through talking out our issues we can begin the journey through which to improve our situation and thus improve our own physical health.

Further recommendations for reducing stress include reducing how much you smoke and drink.

While these may be excellent coping mechanisms, they have been found to have the opposite effect.

Smoking has been found to increase anxiety and tension as nicotine creates a sense of relaxation, but these give way to withdrawal symptoms after the hit is gone.

Similarly alcohol is a sedative so it initially helps you to relax but over a longer period, it increases your stress levels, it has been found that drinking 14 units of alcohol per week can make feelings of stress harder to deal with.

 

Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk

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